David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts. A diminutively sized tall clock.
This is a fine inlaid cherry tall case clock with a lovely painted dial signed by David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts. This clock a diminutive size. It measures a mere 85.5 inches tall to the top of the finial or 83 inches to the top of the arches. It is not often that American tall clocks were built to this scale. This example was made circa 1800.
This high style country example is constructed in cherry and features several line inlays patterns and fans that decorate the case. The cherry wood maintains a warm finish. The case stands up on four applied French feet. These feet are flared and raise the base section up off the floor providing space for a decorative drop apron. The front of the base panel features horizontal graining. A delicate string inlay pattern follows the perimeter. Each of the four corners of this line inlay pattern are decorated with three petal quarter fans. The waist of this clock is fitted with a large tombstone shaped waist door. This door is also line inlaid. The arch of the door displays a six petal fan. The outer edge of the door is trimmed with a cockbeaded molding that is applied from the sides. The front corners of the waist section are fitted with turned quarter columns that are decorated with line inlays and are ring turned about half way up. These terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The bonnet features a lovely swan's neck molding. The arches center a finial plinth that supports a turned wooden finial that has been gilded. The bonnet door is arched and fitted with glass. The interior frame of this door features a cockbeaded molding. Delicate bonnet columns are positioned at the four corners of the case and terminate in fully turned wooden capitals.
The iron dial is colorfully painted and of local origin. Interestingly, it measures 14 inches across and the time ring has a diameter of 13.5 inches. This is an unusually large format. The standard tall clock dial for this period measures 12 inches from side to side. Gilt finials and swags decorate the spandrels areas. This decoration is three dimensional due to the raised gesso work that is applied to the dial. Two red breasted birds are in located in the arch of the dial. They stand under colorful drapery. This dial is signed by the clockmaker. It reads, “David Wood, Newburyport” below the calendar aperture. The time track is formatted with large Roman numerals that mark the hours and smaller Arabic numerals indicate each of the five minute markers. This dial also displays subsidiary seconds and a day of the month calendar. The iron hands are hand filed and simply formed. They are very effective.
The time and strike movement is of good quality. It is constructed in brass and features steel pinions. It is weight driven and designed to run for eight-days on a full wind and to strike each hour on a bell.
This clock stands approximately 7 feet 2.5 inches tall. It is inventory number 211047.
About David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
David Wood was born the son of John and Eunice Wood in Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 5, 1766. It is thought that he may have been apprenticed to either Daniel Balch Senior or one of the members of the Mulliken family. All of whom were prominent Clockmakers in this region. On June 13, 1792, David advertised that he had set up a shop in Market Square, near Reverend Andrews Meeting House, where he made and sold clocks. Three short years latter, he married Elizabeth Bird in 1795. It has become evident, that David Wood was also a Retailer. In 1806, he advertised that he had for sale “Willard’s best Patent Timepieces, for as low as can be purchased in Roxbury.” In the year 1818, he and Abel Moulton, a local silversmith, moved into the shop formerly occupied by Thomas H. Balch. In 1824 he advertised that he had moved on the westerly side of Market Square opposite the Market House. After his wife’s death in 1846, he moved to Lexington to live near is son David, who was a merchant in that town.
It has become quite obvious to us that David Wood was a very successful Clockmaker and Retailer of Clocks. Over the last 40 plus years of being in the business of selling clocks, we have sold many examples of wall, shelf, and tall case clocks bearing this Maker’s signature on the dial.
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